ADJUMANI– South Sudanese refugees living in Nyumanzi, a refugee camp in Uganda’s North-western district of Adjumani have been urged to co-exist peacefully with their host communities.
About 43,000 South Sudanese refugees live in Nyumanzi, officials say.
Speaking at an essay award giving ceremony for primary school pupils who excelled, Daud Gideon, the Executive Director for Remembering The Ones We Lost, lauded all those who participated in the contest, which attracted 89 pupils drawn from four schools.
“Involving pupils from the different schools enhances unity and togetherness,” said Daud, before he handed prizes to the winners.
The competition, managed by an essay organizing committee, covered various topics, ranging from the causes as well as effects of early marriage practices to the impact of conflict on peoples’ lives.
Bior Lual Bior, a primary six pupil of Nyumanzi II primary school emerged winner of the essay contest, followed by Deng Kuir Ariik. Others were Nyantich Abui Diing, Dau Abui Dau and Achol Mading.
All the recognized essay winners got cash prizes that ranged from Shs200,000 ($55) to Shs50,000 ($15), story books as well as novels.
Daud appreciated the essay organizing committee members, teachers and camp leaders for allowing the organization carry out its activities in support of the refugees in Nyumanzi settlement camp.
Moses Nyang, the Refugee Welfare Council (RWC) secretary, said the essay writing completion not only enhanced pupils’ learning ability, but further consolidated the reading and writing skills in them.
Gabriel Ajak, the chairperson of the essay writing competition, said the exercise promoted harmony, unity and peaceful co-existence.
Meanwhile, the host community defeated refugees in a football tournament Remembering The Ones We Lost organized in Nyumanzi.
The winning team won a new trophy, a cash prize and a set of soccer uniform. Prizes also went to the runners up and the third placed team.
After opening in January 2014, Nyumanzi has become the largest refugee settlement in Adjumani district in terms of population size. Despite their relatively recent arrival, residents are already well-established and a strong community has emerged in which refugee households actively collaborate with each other to share resources.
However, although many of the refugees are resilient, gaps in critical sectors, such as education and water, health and sanitation, persist and undermine refugees’ ability to cope with their displacement.